E-cigarette: Benefits and Risk Not Clear
E-cigarette: Benefits and Risk Not Clear

Electronic Cigarette Health Risks and Benefits.

E-cigarettes were invented in China in 2003 but only began hitting the U.S. market around 2006-2007. E-cigarettes were invented as an option for those who want to quit smoking through a traditional cigarette, cigar, and other smoking tools. E-cigarette is a way to use nicotine among others options such as nicotine patches or nicotine chewing gums. However, the clear benefits and health risk of using e-cigarettes on human being are not clear yet.

What is E-cigarette:

E-cigarettes are evolving so quickly that we actually don’t know what people are smoking. E-cigarettes are battery-operated refillable electronic devices, where the different flavor of juice is heated. E-cigarette comes in myriad sizes, colors, shapes, and styles. The juice contains a liquid concoction of varying amount of nicotine, propylene, glycol, glycerin, and food-grade flavorings, called e-juice. Nicotine in the e-juice, as well as any flavor, is aerosolized and inhaled by the users in the form of vapor than smoke of cigarette.E-cigarette: Benefits and Risk Not Clear

E-cigarette: Benefits and Risk Not Clear

A few studies showing toxic carbonyl compounds such as formaldehyde and acrolein formed in e-cigarette aerosol when propylene glycol and glycerin, compounds of e-juice, are heated in an e-cigarette. Studies also reported high levels of carbonyls and other carcinogens in the e-cigarette aerosol when used in unrealistic conditions, including higher voltage than recommended one, so the higher the voltage, the higher the concentration of toxic chemicals in the aerosol.

Less data:

Most scientist says, however, that e-cigarette are likely to be safer that cigarette because compared with cigarette smoke, e-cigarette aerosol contain fewer toxic chemicals and at much lower concentration. Further, a growing community of vapors and e-cigarette manufacturers are advertizing e-cigarette as an option to help quit smoking traditional cigarettes. There are many – many testimonials and unreliable evidence that vapor of e-cigarette has helped people quit smoking but little scientific data is available to support this claim. Similarly, little is known about the long-term health risk of e-cigarette.

May Need Regulations:

In year 2014, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported that the number of youths in grades six through 12 who had never smoked a cigarette but had used e-cigarette increased threefold, from about 79000 in 2011 to more than 263,000 in year 2013 (Nicotine Tob. Res. 2014, DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntu166).

Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act, enacted in 2009, which gave FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. Under FDA’s proposed rule, e-cigarettes companies would have to register with agency with data about their potential health risk. The proposal would also prohibit sales of e-cigarette to minors and require health warning and disclosure of ingredients.

Many medical organizations are also worried about the rise in e-cigarette use by minors. They are pushing U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to subject e-cigarettes to the same regulations as traditional cigarettes, including banning e-cigarette flavors that appeal to kids.

Therefore, still burning question is remaining whether e-cigarette will be proven to be any less harmful than smoking?

Reference: Britte E. Erickson, C&E News Washington, page-10, February 16, 2015


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